If you’ve been watching the health-food & wellness buzz in the past few years, you’ve probably heard about virgin coconut oil. I had heard about it, but had never tried it till I was contacted by Tropical Traditions to try out their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil. They sent me a large jar of the creamy, solid white stuff and I set out to find out more about it.
Remember when we heard all the news about coconut and palm oils being bad for you? Well, this coconut oil is not the same as the “bad stuff.” The coconut oil that was hitting the new back then was partially hydrogenated and refined. Virgin coconut oil has not been chemically treated at all and is high in antioxidants and a saturated fat called lauric acid, which is supposed to be a “better” saturated fat than many others. Many of the health claims relate to lauric acid. I’m not a nutritionist, so I’m not going to tell you about all the health claims.
I am going to tell you about how to use it in your food, though. Coconut Oil is really cool oil. It solidifies at room temperature, but has a low melting point (about 76 degrees Fahrenheit). It has a very long shelf life & a jar can be kept in your pantry for years after opening it without going rancid.
Because of these factors, coconut oil makes a great substitute for several different fats. It can be used in its solid state in place of butter, margarine or shortening, or it can be melted and used in place of liquid oils. You can substitute it one for one (1 tablespoon butter = 1 tablespoon coconut oil).
It does smell and taste a bit like coconut, so factor that into your substitutions. You may not want to use it to replace olive oil in your pasta, but it could be fantastic as a substitute for oil when you’re sautéing shrimp or for butter when you’re making frostings. It will enhance some foods and others will not taste “coconutty” at all.
You can purchase Tropical Traditions Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil from their online store. With your first purchase, you will also receive a free book about virgin coconut oil including 85 recipes. A quart jar is currently on sale for $29.50 (retail $40.00).
We tried it out using Tropical Traditions’ Spiced Zucchini Bread recipe and were delighted with the outcome. The bread was moist and flavorful with a little hint of the coconut. The coconut oil was easy to work with, a little bit like shortening, but not so greasy. I’m excited to try it in more recipes!
Spiced Zucchini Bread from Tropical Traditions
2 2/3 c. sugar
2/3 c. virgin coconut oil, solid
3 c. shredded zucchini (about two medium)
2/3 c. water
3 1/3 c. flour*
2 tsp. baking soda
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1 tsp. ground cloves
2 tsp. vanilla extract
1/2 tsp. baking powder
2/3 c. chopped nuts
2/3 c. raisins
- Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Grease bottoms only of 2 loaf pans.
- Mix sugar and coconut oil in large mixing bowl until no lumps remain. Stir in zucchini, water and eggs. Mix in flour, baking soda, salt, cinnamon, cloves, vanilla and baking powder; stir in nuts and raisins. Pour into prepared pans.
- Bake until toothpick (or cake tester) inserted in the center of loaf comes out clean, about 60-75 minutes. Cool for five minutes. Then loosen sides of loaves from pans and remove. Cool completely before slicing.
*For best results use 50% to 100% whole wheat pastry flour.
Notes: I used all-purpose flour and it turned out just fine. Grease the pans well (and maybe even flour them) because my bread had a tendency to stick to the pan.Average Fork Rating: 3.3
Mrs. Diner: 4
Amazing Diner: 4
Sweet Diner: 2
Would you like to try using coconut oil? Tropical Traditions has offered a 32 oz. jar for one reader to win! Here’s what they have to say about their product:
Win 1 quart of Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil!
Tropical Traditions is America's source for coconut oil. Their Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil is hand crafted in small batches by family producers, and it is the highest quality coconut oil they offer. You can read more about how virgin coconut oil is different from other coconut oils on their website: What is Virgin Coconut Oil? You can also watch the video they produced about Gold Label Virgin Coconut Oil:
Tropical Traditions also carries other varieties of affordable high quality coconut oil. Visit their website to check on current sales, to learn about the many uses of coconut oil, and to read about all the advantages of buying coconut oil online. Since the FDA does not want us to discuss the health benefits of coconut oil on a page where it is being sold or given away, here is the best website to read about the health benefits of coconut oil.
To Enter: Subscribe to Tropical Traditions email newsletter. Additional entries are available for leaving a comment on this post about a way you could use coconut oil in cooking and liking Tropical Traditions on Facebook. Please use the Rafflecopter form to enter.
Giveaway Closes: 12:01 am EST on Monday, June 11, 2012. Winner will be contacted by email and will have 48 hours to respond. You must be at least 18 years old and have a US address to enter. Good luck!
Tropical Traditions provided me with a free sample of this product to review, and I was under no obligation to review it if I so chose. Nor was I under any obligation to write a positive review or sponsor a product giveaway in return for the free product. If you order by clicking on any of my links and have never ordered from Tropical Traditions in the past, you will receive a free book on Virgin Coconut Oil, and I will receive a discount coupon for referring you.